The culture in your club/team is very important. It determines the values, the effort and the habits its participants will adjust and aspire to.
At Breiðablik we had a very important cultural aspect that could be named the club critters. As soon as school was out and all through the day at any given moment you would see a group of boys and girls practicing on their own, unsupervised by adults and the club.
It could be two girls from the U14 team heading the ball between them by the sideline, a cluster of boys aged 13-16 playing 4v4 or 5v5 in a small area of the pitch where the U18 boys were practicing, or a pair of ten year old siblings who had arrived early for practice and set up goals for target practice. From these groups would often emerge the best players at the club.
Here in the photo above taken during the Christmas school break in December 2016 where you can see amongst others the most promising player of the Icelandic Premier League in 2018, players on contract at Swansea and Brondby and players now with several youth international games and league games between them.
If the best players in your club are visibly training extra and living football as a lifestyle then they will inspire others who are younger to follow suit. These players born in 1998 – 2001 would look up to other older players from the club and see that they were the ones doing more and playing for fun. They in turn inspired younger players to imitate their behaviour.
The coaches in the club would try to accommodate these club critters and allow them space to play even if it was not their turn to train. In 2014 we asked the new mens team head coach, Arnar Grétarsson if he wanted us to keep the kids off the grass during first team practice. His reply was that his players had to be able to train with disruption around them, as they would never play games in peace and quiet.
So do you have club critters? How can you accommodate them?